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Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
• People search for different reasons – for background information on a topic, or to select and purchase a product or book a service. Therefore, your landing pages may need to address more than one potential audience. Drawing people into your site with good content may cause them to return when decision time comes.
• For example, in a bed and breakfast context, posting interesting and engaging local activities and attractions may cause website visitors to keep you firmly in mind when they are coming your way… Similarly, if you are a local plumber with some great DIY tips on your site, you might get a call next time there is a quote required for a big job.
Part of the secret of generating good web copy is identifying what people are looking for online that relates to what you do. Gaining qualified traffic can be as simple as finding an information void and writing to fulfill an obvious need.
Topic Research for Landing Pages
Inspiration can sometimes be elusive, but here are three easy ways to determine some good landing page topics:
1. Expertise: Pick two or three aspects of your business that you enjoy the most and are most knowledgeable about. Define a short list of relevant keywords about each. Search for those on the AdWords keyword tool and scan through the list of phrases that are being researched on Google. Look for those with: How, Why, What, When, and Where, then search phrases with good search volumes in your region/country.
2. FAQ: Think back to questions that you are most frequently asked, and retrieve any you’ve written thorough answers for. Turn those into comprehensive page coverage of the topic.
3. Problem Solving: I often turn a client’s trouble-shooting or tech support request into an article. For example, tackling a new hacking threat, or an SEO project, can often lead to new information and discoveries that can be shared…
A landing page does not have to be sales pitch. Often the harder the sell, the more resistance there is to it. Sometimes, its better to create a good first impression by giving freely of your knowledge and experience. That gives you credibility, and demonstrates your expertise and professionalism. It shows you are generous rather than greedy, a giver rather than a taker.
Many of your readers may never have the need or wherewithal to partake of your products and services. However, if your brand is projected positively and consistently, word-of-mouth referrals will follow as readership increases.
How Many Words is Enough?
Most designers and branding experts think less is more when it comes to web page copy. I know that getting top rankings for a content-deficient page on your website is not going to be that easy, unless you are writing about a topic with no prior coverage…
Explaining a topic clearly and authoritatively, and being perceived as an expert by search engines and readers alike, cannot be done “above the fold.”
There was a time when a 250-word article could grab top rankings. In the new normal, that is rarely ever going to happen! Instead, proper coverage of a topic might well require an introduction or outline, a logical progression through topic sections, some options, recommendations and a summary… That could well encompass more than 1,000 words – which is my personal minimum on any topics I choose to cover thoroughly.
The Copywriting Process
The thoughtful copywriter might treat this as a storyboard exercise. The first step is usually a written outline of headings, arranged in a logical order, scribbled on a notepad, perhaps with some cryptic notes. I often have several sets of notes on different topics fermenting away on my desk. Once one has fleshed itself out sufficiently, I will write those headings into a WordPress post draft. I then go through, and make additional explanatory notes in each section, gradually filling in the blank spots within the copy.
It may take me several days to complete a 1,500-word article, because I find letting the subconscious work on it delivers better dividends than trying to rush the creative process. Of course, I don’t always have deadlines to meet.
Copywriting and SEO
In terms of search relevancy, its clear that Google places far more weight on the page copy than ever before. The days when titles and descriptions carried the day are gone. Titles are reduced to a brief headline plus branding, Descriptions are demoted to a sales pitch.
Therefore, page headings are now more important than ever, and inclusion of your primary keywords / phrases within headings and body text are vital.
Writers should ensure the primary keyword phrase that encapsulates the essence of the page is represented in an H1 heading. Ensure the secondary / tertiary keyword phrases are represented in H2 / H3 heading/s. In addition, allow those keyword phrases to be placed naturally within the body text if appropriate.
Using a mortgage broker as an analogy, try to include;
• Variations; mortgages, mortgagee, mortgaged etc
• Related words; account, manager, bank, loans, broker, lending, lending, interest, repayment etc
• Synonyms of primary keywords; loan agreement, homeowners loan, contract, debt etc
Don’t lace the content with lethal doses of these. Just sprinkle them judiciously, like raisins in an Easter bun…
Latent Semantic Indexing
This is sometimes referred to as addressing “LSI” or latent semantic indexing opportunities. The goal is to give Google additional positive clues as to the guts of the content, its intent and purpose.
The variations, related words and synonyms increase the probability that a page will appear relevant to the primary keyword search phrase that the page is intended to target.
Website Content Authority
This is an area not broadly discussed, but one that potentially offers benefits to a copywriter’s authorship credibility, provenance, copyright and ownership. It’s a way of applying personal branding to your content creations.
Google+ has a (somewhat awkward) process that allows you to link your written content in multiple external website accounts to your Google+ account, clearly identifying you (the writer) as the author in search engine results pages. For example;
• On multiple websites you own and write for
• Other sites for which you provide guest posts or exclusive articles
• Plus Facebook, Twitter etc
Adding a list of your relevant e-mail accounts and contribution websites to your Google public profile does this. You may also list your about us page/s.
On the websites that you own and write for, you can also include your official Google authorship credentials, these are then added as micro data in post code on the site. If you operate a WordPress website, there are several plugins (e.g. Google+ Authorship) that take care of inserting the correct code in the right places.
In this day and age, content provenance grows more and more important, so protecting yours by every means possible makes good sense.
The folks at Gravatar.com have another way to brand your content. Quote: “Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?”
• You can set up multiple e-mails – one per website – with a personal or logo image per e-mail address
• Works with WordPress User account to display your image anywhere that address is used
• Works with e-mail address to display that image on any WordPress publishing platform or Gravatar-supporting website
Quote: “Setting up Gravatars on your site is easy; you don’t even need an account! Plugins are available for leading blog software and content management systems.”
Content Excerpt Distribution & Promotion
When you write copy on a topic of relevance, ensuring it gets read requires the broadest distribution. You may have followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks. To steadily build traffic, you need to maximize the leverage you have on social networks.
Commonsense dictates that automation is more productive than repetition of effort in distribution! On a WordPress CMS platform, automation of content distribution is readily possible.
Enter Network Publisher from LinksAlpha.com. These guys have a process that allows you to tie together all websites you publish from, and all networks you want to publish to. An account on LinksAlpha allows you to specify your websites, and connect to your accounts on an array of leading social media networks.
• You then specify which websites publish content to which social networks
• On each of your WordPress websites, you install the Network Publisher plugin. This publishes new post excerpts to your LinksAlpha account. In turn, your LinksAlpha account pushes those excerpts to the specified social networks.
• The result is that by publishing a post on any of your websites, excerpts with links back to the source then appear on all of your social network accounts.
That’s a lot more efficient than manually updating multiple social media accounts!
Ben Kemp, a search engine optimization consultant since 1997, is a specialist in website redesign, and a veteran of 25-plus years of experience in the IT industry. Web: www.ComAuth.co.nz + www.Website-Redesign-Company.co
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
It isn’t necessary to be at your business’s headquarters to run your business effectively. Growing numbers of small business owners are starting to figure out that they don’t have to be bound to any given physical location to do their jobs effectively. Of course, there are effective ways to get your work done outside the office and there are ineffective ways. Adopting good strategies for getting work done will help you to free yourself from the confines of your office and still remain effective.
Learn How to Set Clear Boundaries
The best thing about working in an office is that it is easy to set boundaries between your personal life and your work life. Once you get outside the office and start working from your bedroom or your hotel room, the boundaries become blurred. If you really want to learn how to work effectively outside the office, you need to figure out how to separate your work life from your personal life.
The best way to go about this is to mark off an area in your bedroom or hotel room or wherever you want to work, and reserve that area for work alone. That way, whenever you enter that area (however small it might be), you will notice yourself starting to shift into a work mindset. And, when you leave that area, you will find yourself better able to transition away from a work mindset.
Pay Attention to Ergonomics
The biggest problem with working outside your office is that most non-office spaces do not have furniture that promotes good posture and comfort while working. Most hotel furniture is not designed to be used as office furniture and while upscale hotels often have desks that can work in a pinch, most hotels do not have furniture that will enable you to work at your best for long periods of time without feeling cramped or uncomfortable.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. If you have a good tolerance for ergonomic nightmares, you might not even need to solve this problem. If on the other hand, you are like most people, you might want to consider shopping around for some good portable or lightweight office furniture. A simple folding table and chair can work wonders and aren’t too difficult to haul around.
Guard Your Health
Although health is often overlooked as an important factor in success, the truth is, health is one of the foundational pillars of a successful career. The better your health is, the more energy you have and, consequently, the more likely you will be able to persist in pursuing your goals.
Unfortunately, working from the road or your bedroom is not conducive to good health. There’s just something about working in an informal environment that encourages bad food choices. Nothing’s easier than grabbing a fat-laden snack while you’re in your pajamas and working hard in your bedroom. Ordering a pizza is a cinch when you’re working out of a hotel room.
In order to protect your health, make a conscious effort to make healthy eating choices. Healthy options are almost always available wherever you are, even if they are usually less visible than unhealthy options. Put in a little extra effort to put only healthy things down your throat, and the quality of your work will be improved.
Keep a Handle on Your Relationships
Relationships make the world of business go round and round. Unfortunately, most business relationships require regular face-to-face contact to flourish or even survive. We live in the digital age, but there is absolutely no replacement for face-to-face communication. However much you detest your office, you will have to return occasionally to meet with your employees and keep valuable relationships going.
Try not to make this into a chore. If people sense that you are meeting with them only because you feel you have to, you will have a hard time maintaining good relationships with them. Always try to be sincere in your efforts to build relationships. The more sincere you are, the better the results you will have.
(Word-of-mouth marketing is another excellent example of an activity that is only effective when you are sincere. There are no effective word-of-mouth marketing experts who don’t believe wholeheartedly in what they’re doing.)
Questions to Help You Improve on How Well You Work Outside of the Office
1. Do you have a clearly delineated workspace?
2. Is your impromptu workspace meeting your ergonomic needs?
3. Are you watching your diet?
4. Are you maintaining important relationships at the office?
Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks | a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz. She facilitates online visibility services and word-of-mouth coaching and workshops – taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy, http://buzz2bucks.com.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
The new Penguin and Panda updates released this year by Google have created a divide in the world of online content. While some webmasters are raging and reeling against Google’s epic fail update, other folks have climbed atop a very high horse and viewed these updates as an opportunity to wag fingers and condemn anyone who has ever tried to include a self-serving link in a guest post.
In reference to the Panda update, Google’s Webmaster Blog stated: “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the ‘good guys’ making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded. To that end we’ve launched Panda changes that successfully returned higher-quality sites in search results. And earlier this year we launched a page layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make much content available ‘above the fold.’”
It sounded like a good idea at the time…
It sounds very quality oriented and with an “everybody wins” mantra attached. But there is a very conspicuous level of subjectivity here that I think is a problem. Essentially, if Google thinks you’re “one of the good guys,” then you’re fine. If not, you’re “bad” and you must be punished by having your search ranking lowered. Are we letting Google have too much power?
To further complicate things, Google released its Penguin update shortly afterwards. After the update was released, many bloggers argued that Google had gone too far, and that while “spammy” sites were being weeded out, Penguin was indiscriminately ruling with an iron flipper and “clean” sites were being punished as well. Anyone working in fields such as online reputation management, or search engine optimization had to scramble to develop new strategies and techniques that the discerning algorithms wouldn’t mistake for “spam.”
Certainly we can all appreciate Google’s crusade to rid the Internet of low-quality, spammy content, but it seems as if Google is operating under a dangerous premise of over-applying penalties in order to catch all the rule breakers. Unfortunately, casting such a wide net also mistakenly punishes some clean sites too. I’m pretty sure that a willingness to punish the innocent is walking a fine line between strong enforcer and dictator.
The problem is that Google is disproportionately favoring people who have the luxury of creating user friendly websites with high quality content for free. Most people don’t want to litter their blogs with banner ads, or annoy their visitors with pop ups, but we have to, because we must make money off our websites. Contrary to popular belief, there are ways to buy links without being a sleazy spammer. And if you’re trying to drive traffic to your site, you should be able to do these things (within reason) when you’re just getting started.
According to Google’s Webmaster blog, the way to drive traffic to your site without getting punished is to “improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster.” These are of course great things to do, but they also require having a big budget in order to pay top notch programmers that can deliver these things for you. Sorry, but a small business web page being run by one or two people isn’t going to always be able to comply with Google’s high standards.
Google Makes Its Own Rules
This will probably be interpreted as an extreme analogy, but if one were to compare Google to our legal system, it would fail miserably. Whatever happened to the Blackstone Principle that states, “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” This is supposed to be the guiding principle behind the application of penalties and punishments in the civilized world. I suppose Google felt it didn’t need to conform to such restrictive standards.
The consequences of being penalized by Google are often more extreme than many people realize. As a result of the Penguin update, many websites shut down entirely or were removed from Google’s index so users were not able to find them in a search. After penguin went through, many people went on Google’s Webmaster Blog and left a flurry of comments ranging from furious to heartbreaking. A SEO article about the Penguin update quotes one person’s fearful reaction.
“I am now scrambling to figure out how I am going to: pay my daughters tuition, pay my car payment, pay my health insurance, pay my car insurance, pay rent and all the utilities that go along with renting a house, not to mention putting food on the table. I followed your good webmasters guidelines and done nothing spammy at all about my businesses and websites and I get shut down and put out like that.”
Google Lacks Adequate Competition
Ideally, free market capitalism is supposed to create competition, which forces businesses to constantly optimize and please its users/customers. Aside from Bing, Google possesses no real competition, therefore they can literally write their own rules, and the public has no choice but to fall in line. Once a brand has transcended into a widely used verb, (like Facebook and Google) this is a good indication that the company has broken away from the system of checks and balances existent in a free market system.
With that being said, is Google a tyrant?
Jessica Ruane is a blogger and SEO focused copywriter based out of San Diego. She specializes in articles about SEO, writing tips, and social media marketing. Check out her company blog at http://blog.instantcheckmate.com to read more of her work.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
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